Consumers are pretty much in agreement—they don’t want advertisers collecting their data. According to January 2016 data from mobile marketing firm Tune, 55.0% of smartphone owners in the UK and the US felt advertisers should be allowed to collect no data about them whatsoever, and a further 26.0% thought only very limited amounts should be collected.
Top of consumers’ list of concerns is digital privacy, and advertisers are viewed as the least trustworthy users of consumer data. But this is the big dilemma for marketers and advertisers playing in the digital space. After all, in order to deliver on the promise of targeted advertising they need to build customer profiles, and that needs data.
Indeed, despite the very clear consumer concerns around data collection, it hasn’t stopped companies from forging ahead and collecting it whatever. September 2015 data from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) and SAS, with research conducted by Opinium Research LLP, found that large proportions of companies across various sectors were in the habit of collecting and storing big data.
A March 2016 report from The Drum in partnership with digital marketing firm Tealium, meanwhile, found that among UK marketers polled in December 2015, only 18.5% felt data was a barrier to delivering a personalized consumer experience.
So data continues to be harvested at scale, with many businesses seemingly unaware of consumer concerns or, at best, ambivalent to them. If the current ad blocking debate tells us anything, though, it’s that consumers are becoming increasingly adept at railing against advertiser intrusion.